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 Post subject: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Hi folks!

First of all, know that I have a therapist (who I check in with 3 times a week- 2 half hour skype sessions and 1 hour long session at her office) and am meeting my psychiatrist next week to discuss this.

I've been reading more about bipolar II.....and part of me is wondering if I fit the diagnosis.

Obviously, I've struggled with major depression cycles for my entire life. However, I do have memories of times when I felt elated, full of positive energy, taking on a lot of responsibilities and wanting to change the world....etc.

I'm wondering if this constitutes hypomania.

If it is......I'll admit that I'd be saddened to have those periods pathologized. I love getting excited about new ideas and projects....one of the things I like most about myself is my passion. To think that it might be a symptom of illness makes me question who I am.

I really don't want to be on more medication, as I'm on so much already. I also dislike how states of depression never seem to go away. I'll be fine for a few months, have a minor slip, pick back up, feel good, and go on as such. The huge depression episodes happen every 2 years or so.

Anyways...I'm not looking for medical advice or a diagnosis (obviously) just wondering if anyone here has been diagnosed with bipolar 2, has a family member with it or just any words of wisdom.

Many hugs!

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:29 am 
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Greetings,

I have a son who is nearly 16, and who was diagnosed with bipolar nearly 10 years ago. Of course, symptoms of bipolar in kids look quite a bit different than symptoms in adults, so I still feel that we're waiting to see how things play out. He has an uncle (his dad's brother) who was
diagnosed at age 17. I've tried to find out whether he's bipolar I or II, but the family is unclear on this point. I know his uncle had periods
of being unable to sleep for days at a time and getting fired for being unable to perform in a normal manner at work, so I suspect he's a I.

My son has been pretty stable for quite a while, though he does have periods when he can't sleep at all for a night. He can't tolerate
SSRI's at all.
All the best to you,
El


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:30 am 
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Hi Rowan,

I suppose I have a word of advice. I am currently working on my doctorate for clinical psychology and I can tell you that in reading about each of the disorders I feel that I have every single one of them! I don't, and what is more is that these disorders do not exist in any real sense. This is evidenced by the fact that disorders are constantly being introduced and removed from our diagnostic manuals. So… I am trying to say, don't pathologize yourself. There is no need to do so, you have already been through an extremely difficult past few months.

If you are really concerned about BP 2 then talk to one of your doctors about it, but sitting alone and reading about it isn't going to help you feel any better. Furthermore, the periods of elation you discuss appear very normal and are experienced by the general population. I am no doctor yet, nor do I know you, so my word of advice is only my opinion. However, I would encourage you to put down the diagnostic tools and focus on taking care of yourself to the best of your abilities.

I hope that this helps, and that you continue to heal.

Peace be with you.


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:15 am 
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Thanks for your responses,

P-J I agree completely- that's sort of what makes this so troublesome. My psychiatrist has mentioned that I have bipolar like tendencies, and the fact that BP2 is chronic and relapsing makes me wonder. I don't want to be saddled with another diagnosis (For example, avoidant personality disorder....ugh), but I'm wondering if this is the case and if something can be done to prevent these cycles. I'm very critical of psychiatry and big pharma....and as I said it would be devastating to view the best feelings in life (joy, elation, passion etc.) as pathological.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:17 am 
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Hey there,

I think thats a good mind set to go in with. Maybe another piece of information I have might help you? In learning about diagnostic tools, primarily tests, I have been told that each individual has elements of every disorder. Its only when it starts interfering with daily functioning does it become an issue or a "disorder." I deeply understand not wanted to be slapped with another label, and if I were you, I too would resist another diagnosis. But, what it comes down to really, is do these feelings of elation, passion, and joy cause you trouble (ie. do you go on a spending rampage, do things you later regret, etc.)?

Wishing you all the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Hi Rowan,

After thinking about this matter, and having this brought to my attention, I want to reiterate that I am in no way a professional. Everything I have said is only my opinion, and does not reflect the opinions of my chosen field. You should discuss with your doctor(s) all of your concerns as they (and you) will know best how to deal with your current situation and feelings.

Warm wishes.


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Don't worry, I plan on doing so :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Great :)


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:58 am 
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i got checked for bipolar 2 around 6 months back, after quite a few hypomanic episodes.

my psychiatrist basically said "well, call me if you find yourself in a random airport or if you find yourself spending lots of money you shouldn't.. if something like that doesn't happen, then you might just be one of the lucky people who get to be REALLY happy when you're happy".

i get hypomania, but not uncontrollable. i am still me, i am still capable of controlling myself.. i just get super happy, restless, easy-hearted and energized. but it seems like i don't really get the depressions anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:28 pm 
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I have just been diagnosed with bipolar II and Rowan, if you think you may have it talk to your doctor. My psychiatrist told me that not only do anti-depressants not work on depressive episodes in bipolar II patients it can exacerbate them as well as the hypomanic episodes.

I have to taper down from them right now and decide whether I want to try seroquel or lithium. Does anyone have experience? The doctor is leaning towards seroquel but I am leaning towards lithium because it seems seroquel can cause major weight gain?


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Hugs to you, S-J! (Sorry, can't offer any advice.)

ETA: Hugs to you as well, Rowan! I hope you were able to discuss this with your doctors. Bipolar NOS has been brought up for me; I think it was because, similar to what Smoothie explained, I sometimes just get really ramped up, happy, excited, etc. It bordered on hypomania when I was on Paxil, but now that I'm on something else, it seems to be relegated. Or I just get kind of frustrated/angry more easily. Either way, I think it can be difficult to know what's disorder and what's just you. That's the beauty of different kinds of therapy, especially learning how to cope with things.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Thanks folks. As far as my doc goes we will likely discuss it next week.....but unfortunately I had to spend my last session informing him about all that went down last month (thanks hospital for not contacting him like you insisted you would!).

I was going to add that I've been on seroquel for over 2 years (really low dose now for sleep) and am definitely not in the running for half ton vegan. Or even quarter ton.....err, what I mean is- is doesn't equal instant drastic weight gain for everyone! And lithium has serious side effects as well, so consider that....though I completely understand (had an ED for 5 years) how the thought of weight gain can be really distressing.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:46 pm 
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this is the fourth time now i have responded and this time i will not dump my response, i swear.

i was diagnosed Bi2 and took lithium for a time. like smoothie my doctor told me unless i was shopping or sexing or whatever to focus on the down time not the up time. i didn't find lithium did anything for me (but honestly no psych med ever did anything positive for me) and i was always worried about dehydration and side effects.

i would bring it up, but not worry about the happiness being too happy. at the time i was in the middle of all this there was a lot of talk about genius really being undiagnosed bipolar disorder and i thought a lot about it. i didn't experience any neutering of my creativity, quite the opposite, but i'd be lying if i didn't say i was really afraid i was going to lose my abilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:51 pm 
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I think regardless of if you are diagnosed with bipolar 2 or not, it sounds like you are taking those periods of increased energy and positivity and choosing to channel those feelings into awesome things that you care about, and that is still a part of you that you can and should feel good about regardless of any diagnosis.

I know this doesn't have the same stigma as bipolar, but my sweetheart has ADD and anxiety and sometimes feels really self conscious about those disorders, both feeling like he's not in control of his behaviors or thought patterns and feeling maybe like he's not how he's supposed to be or something. But both of those things play into the parts of him that I really like and am inspired by. Some of the inherent things that go along with ADD I just really like (severeal people I'm really close to and inspired by have been diagnosed with it) and I think the ways he's learned to cope with that annd his anxiety are part of what makes him him and are really good. So, I just wanted to say that even if you do get this diagnosis, hopefully you can use it to help deal with negative effects in your life but while also appreciating the positive parts. I hope that makes sense. I think most people's strengths and weaknesses are necessarily interlinked, regardless of diagnoses or labels.


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Sarah-Jane wrote:
I have to taper down from them right now and decide whether I want to try seroquel or lithium. Does anyone have experience? The doctor is leaning towards seroquel but I am leaning towards lithium because it seems seroquel can cause major weight gain?

Medications work drastically different on different people so my experience with them could be 100% completely different from yours. I would eschew my fear of weight gain if my doctor felt that one would be better than the other in helping me. It has the potential for weight gain but it's not a guarantee. You can watch your food intake and exercise, and just try to stay as healthy as possible. I know that for many people, that's hard to do when you're depressed or manic so the medication may help you to focus more. I can see why you would be wavering the decision, just try to keep the ultimate goal in focus. I know this isn't a straightforward answer but I don't believe you can really get those kinds of answers about mental illness and medication, especially from an online forum. Sometimes medication is a life save and sometimes it's hell on earth. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:13 am 
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Mr. Shankly wrote:
Sarah-Jane wrote:
I have to taper down from them right now and decide whether I want to try seroquel or lithium. Does anyone have experience? The doctor is leaning towards seroquel but I am leaning towards lithium because it seems seroquel can cause major weight gain?

Medications work drastically different on different people so my experience with them could be 100% completely different from yours. I would eschew my fear of weight gain if my doctor felt that one would be better than the other in helping me. It has the potential for weight gain but it's not a guarantee. You can watch your food intake and exercise, and just try to stay as healthy as possible. I know that for many people, that's hard to do when you're depressed or manic so the medication may help you to focus more. I can see why you would be wavering the decision, just try to keep the ultimate goal in focus. I know this isn't a straightforward answer but I don't believe you can really get those kinds of answers about mental illness and medication, especially from an online forum. Sometimes medication is a life save and sometimes it's hell on earth. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about that.


Oh gosh I am not asking you guys to make my decision for me! I just want some advice from people who have experienced these drugs. Plus the weight gain thing is a BIG problem for me. Having PCOS and gaining a lot of weight was a huge problem, but I got through it without resorting back to my old ED behaviours. I am just getting the weight off in a healthy way and to be honest, I don't have it in me to start putting it back on again and I know I couldn't keep fighting against the desires I have to start purging and restricting again because it has been really hard!

My ultimate goal is to be healthy and stable but the doctor is giving me the choice of meds. She feels that they are both, in her opinion, as good as each other but she is leaning towards seroqual because of the lack of blood tests, which isn't a problem for me. It feels like a big choice because of the side effects that both have but, like she said, I could ultimately end up on both anyway!


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:24 am 
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Sarah-Jane, sorry if I came across as in a way that wasn't helpful. It's a big decision, but you know your body best. It's you that will live with possible side effects, not your doctor. Your doc probably faces a lot of patients who can't/won't be ok with frequent blood tests. Another thing about seroquel is it is SUPER sedating. When I was on a higher dose all I did was sleep. Now it just allows me to sleep longer when combined with a sleeping pill. Another thing to consider- I hope you find one that works for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:05 pm 
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Sarah-Jane wrote:
Oh gosh I am not asking you guys to make my decision for me! I just want some advice from people who have experienced these drugs. Plus the weight gain thing is a BIG problem for me. Having PCOS and gaining a lot of weight was a huge problem, but I got through it without resorting back to my old ED behaviours. I am just getting the weight off in a healthy way and to be honest, I don't have it in me to start putting it back on again and I know I couldn't keep fighting against the desires I have to start purging and restricting again because it has been really hard!

My ultimate goal is to be healthy and stable but the doctor is giving me the choice of meds. She feels that they are both, in her opinion, as good as each other but she is leaning towards seroqual because of the lack of blood tests, which isn't a problem for me. It feels like a big choice because of the side effects that both have but, like she said, I could ultimately end up on both anyway!

Sorry, I hope I didn't come off as bisque-y! I had just wanted to say that asking about someones specific experience with a medication can often be misleading because of how different it is with each person. I've seen a lot of people on online forums ask about another persons experience with a certain medication and because one of those people have had a horrible experience, they usually demonize the drug and tell others to never take it. It can get pretty out of hand and I think that's dangerous because a.) they're not medical doctors and b.) that same drug can be wondrous for another person. So when it comes to weight gain, one person may gain weight on the medication while another may not. I feel better now knowing why your doctor is leaning towards one medication over the other. I had originally read it as your doctor felt one was better for you than the other in quality.

For me, I couldn't take Seroquel. I tried it 2 or 3 times with the start up pack but even on the lowest dose, I couldn't wake up. I would just lie on the couch, half awake/half asleep and would try to move but my muscles wouldn't work.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:15 pm 
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I just checked back in here and I just wanted to say you didn't sound bisque-y at all and Rowan you weren't unhelpful! I hate how on the internet it is so easy to come across the wrong way. I am greatfull for all advice!

I have decided to try lithium first and if it doesn't work then we'll try the seroquel. The fact that it can be so sedating is also offputting for me and the Dr said I would have to take time off work to get used to it because it will knock me out for a few days! I have a feeling it is just going to be a case of experimenting to find out what works right!


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:37 pm 
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Sarah-Jane wrote:
I have a feeling it is just going to be a case of experimenting to find out what works right!

That's how it goes! I really hope you find something that helps you and is tolerable sooner rather than later. Best of luck to you! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:19 am 
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So, this might be a strange question but does anybody find that the effects of alcohol are different depending on whether or not you are having an episode? It seems that I drink a lot more during a hypomanic phase but that alcohol seems to have less of an effect on me. Is that normal?


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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:13 am 
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Sarah-Jane wrote:
So, this might be a strange question but does anybody find that the effects of alcohol are different depending on whether or not you are having an episode? It seems that I drink a lot more during a hypomanic phase but that alcohol seems to have less of an effect on me. Is that normal?

Sounds normal to me. You have so much energy inside of you that alcohol may have little effect on you, in that sense. You're also so full of energy that you can become very distracted to the effect it's having on you. While, on the other hand, if you're already experiencing a lack of energy from depression, alcohol can feel like a huge blow.

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 Post subject: Re: Bipolar 2
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:25 pm 
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Has anybody ever dealt with anxiety when it comes to taking meds? I was on seroquel for 4 weeks and ended up in A&E because my heart was beating so fast that I couldn't even breathe, not to mention how horrible I felt on it in general. Now I am on abilify and I feel constantly naseous but worst of all I am getting the most horrible panic attacks because I am so worried about what these tablets are doing to me. I am afraid to take the diazepam I got for with them, along with any other medication like pain killers or even my BC.

I am going to talk to my psych when I see her next but I feel so ridiculous. I just want to try and deal with this without medication now.

(For the record I am still taking the abilify, I wouldn't stop taking meds without talking to my doctor first)


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